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Francisco Goya Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
By the 1780s Goya was Spain's leading painter, specializing in religious pictures and portraits. He left a ruthlessly penetrating record of his patrons and private expressions of introspection, moral objectivity, and caustic commentary on his times. A 1792 illness left Goya deaf and mentally broken. He turned inward and began painting dark, disturbing, private works. His etchings expressed his distaste for the corrupt, fanatical establishment, particularly the Church, for whom he worked. During the Napoleonic wars, Goya recorded his reactions to the occupying French army’s atrocities. By 1814, the repressive Spanish monarchy was restored and Goya resumed painting the royals, whom he portrayed with at times unflattering frankness.
3rd of MAY 1808
Marquesa de Santiago
Bullfight
Reclining Nude
SATURN DEVOURING HIS SON
WINE HARVEST
FORGE

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THE 3rd of MAY 1808 IN MADRID: THE EXECUTIONS ON PRINCIPE PIO HILL
Canvas (268 x 347 cm) Prado Museum, Madrid

This emblematic work -and its counterpart, the 2nd of May, which is on display in the same hall- were painted by Goya in 1814, by commission of the Regency Council governing Spain following the War of Independence. The paintings were to "perpetuate" the most notable and heroic feats of our most glorious insurrection against the Tyrant of Europe and were put on the Arch of Triumph that was built to honour the return to Madrid of King Ferdinard VII. The event depicted in this work is the violent French repression of the patriots who rose up in rebellion on 2nd May, 1808 against the invading forces of Napoleon. This painting has been considered as the greatest symbol of independence and of the defense of liberty of the Spanish people, although it has also become, without doubt, a universal statement about war and its consequences. With the force of the tragedy depicted here, Goya became the most important forbearer of the contemporary artistic movement known as Expressionism.
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